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Rotator cuff injury; help!


Shiloh
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Looks like this topic has come back from the grave recently - which is great, 'cos I was just about to post about something similar. I'm 65, I've been playing fiddle forever, no family history of arthritis etc, and  have an intermittent left upper arm ache that playing violin makes worse when it's there - at times it just isn't. I'm interested in whether this might be a well known fiddler's ailment that I can tell my osteo about - she reckons some kind of 'compaction' and gave me a good pummeling (as osteos do) plus gentle stretching/rowing exercises. My pain isn't in the shoulder joint, it appears to be about 4-6" down the arm from there, a sharp ache. It manifests easily when I do this: left arm pointing straight out in front with hand at shoulder left, palm down. That's fine - push on the hand up, down, left, right, with the other hand - all OK. Rotate the hand and arm to the left so the little finger's to the floor, push same directions - OK. Continue rotation left till the left hand is palm up. Push L, R, up - OK. Push down - Ouch!

Any ideas please? I'm not asking for a 2nd opinion, just whether this rings any bells or more info?

Thanks, Max

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I have had rotator cuff tears in both my shoulders, as I do a lot of body weight exercises such as chin ups, dips, pull ups squats and the like. The only thing that will cure rotator cuff is rest or surgery, if you rest anti inflamation drugs are the way to go, when I say rest though I mean REST, try not to raise your arm too much and definitely don’t lift anything heavy, my  right shoulder took around six months the left was quicker, it’s frustrating but it will heal if you leave it, extremely painful injury.

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On 10/21/2020 at 1:26 PM, maxr said:

Looks like this topic has come back from the grave recently - which is great, 'cos I was just about to post about something similar. I'm 65, I've been playing fiddle forever, no family history of arthritis etc, and  have an intermittent left upper arm ache that playing violin makes worse when it's there - at times it just isn't. I'm interested in whether this might be a well known fiddler's ailment that I can tell my osteo about - she reckons some kind of 'compaction' and gave me a good pummeling (as osteos do) plus gentle stretching/rowing exercises. My pain isn't in the shoulder joint, it appears to be about 4-6" down the arm from there, a sharp ache. It manifests easily when I do this: left arm pointing straight out in front with hand at shoulder left, palm down. That's fine - push on the hand up, down, left, right, with the other hand - all OK. Rotate the hand and arm to the left so the little finger's to the floor, push same directions - OK. Continue rotation left till the left hand is palm up. Push L, R, up - OK. Push down - Ouch!

Any ideas please? I'm not asking for a 2nd opinion, just whether this rings any bells or more info?

Thanks, Max

Don’t push down, only joking. Sounds muscular, tricep possibly?

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On 10/19/2020 at 5:38 PM, Violadamore said:

Can you get a 2nd. opinion?  :(

Try a smaller instrument. After I had rotator cuff surgery on my left shoulder (age 60),  I went to a 15”  viola and found it so much easier to play. Violins come in so many sizes, consider trying a smaller one.

Good luck.

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8 hours ago, ViolaMomma said:

Try a smaller instrument. After I had rotator cuff surgery on my left shoulder (age 60),  I went to a 15”  viola and found it so much easier to play. Violins come in so many sizes, consider trying a smaller one.

Good luck.

Welcome to the MN forum!   :)

I believe that you have quoted me by mistake, I'm not the original poster. 

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  • 8 months later...

Have had 5 rotator cuff surgeries. Four were on my bowing shoulder.   The most recent  was 5 years ago at 69 years.  

The most recent surgery was a failure.  The surgeon was only able to stitch half the cuff. 

The therapy was pushed to progress too fast after the first month.  I dropped out and did what I could when the shoulder felt as though it could take it.  IMO pain from therapy after six weeks of it was not good.  

Have read that therapy is recommended instead of surgery in most cases today. 

In early recovery I played one handed piano.   Then I progressed to mandolin, which is, as you probably know, tuned like a violin.

When I could play the violin I played  few minutes a day.  If there was pain, I quit immediately.  

It was a year after the more recent surgery that I felt I could play the violin.  Have been playing since and have added a viola.

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Swimming training helped me to relax upper body a lot, specially during the winter when the pool is heated, I finish the training sessions with a totally relaxed body. It's my 18th symphony season as a viola player and believe me I am looking for a small viola now and hopefully when pandemic ends swimming pools will be open again. 

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